The figure of a physiotherapist tends to be associated with massage and, in general, with the world of sports, however, there is a very wide range of techniques and areas where they can intervene and it is unknown by a large part of the population. Next, we will explain the different roles of the physical therapist as a healthcare professional and how they can help us.
What capabilities does a physical therapist have?
A physiotherapist is a discipline of university degree where health professionals are formed with anatomical knowledge and human physiology, physical therapist. They are specialized in treating conditions through different manual therapies, therapeutic exercise, and physical agents such as heat, cold, light, water, electricity, etc. Altogether, the objective of maintaining and restoring the functional capacities of patients and improving their quality of life.
A physical therapist He is capable of making his own diagnosis in physiotherapy with the execution of manual tests at the muscular, neural, or joint level and to guide optimal treatment for the patient. However, they also work with other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, or psychologists, forming part of an interdisciplinary team.
Where can we find a physiotherapist and what are their skills?
The physiotherapists are responsible for injury prevention, education of patients in health care, and rehabilitation of acute or chronic conditions. Day-to-day is receiving patients referred to family doctors or specialists such as orthopedists, rheumatologists, or neurologists. They work both in the private and public sphere, in a wide range of places such as clinics, outpatient clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, gyms, sports clubs, etc …
The main objectives of a physical therapist are: to prevent, cure, and alleviate musculoskeletal problems physically and trying to minimize and repair the damage as much as possible.
Physiotherapy intervenes on three levels:
- Prevention, education and empowerment.
- Process healing.
- Treatment of chronic pathology or processes.
It is common to refer or go on your own to the physiotherapy service when you suffer a pathology or ailment of a musculoskeletal nature. It is a service highly demanded by patients with trauma or rheumatological problems such as arthritic processes, lumbar pain, cervical pain, fractures, sprains, fibrillar breaks, among others.
However, as mentioned above, the intervention in physiotherapy has gradually opened up to other specialties, so that today, a physiotherapist must have basic skills in:
- Traumatology and Rheumatology: osteoarthritis, fractures, sprains, capsulitis, scoliosis, etc.
- Pediatrics: sensory-motor development problems secondary to congenital diseases, bronchiolitis, cystic fibrosis, etc.
- Urogynecology: dysfunctions of the urinary and reproductive system, pelvic floor, pre and postpartum, etc.
- Sports: sports injuries and rehabilitation to sports.
- Geriatrics: maintaining and promoting the autonomy of the elderly through exercise and prevention of falls.
- Neurology: stroke, spinal cord disease, aphasia, etc.
- Cardiorespiratory rehabilitation: COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ), pulmonary emphysema, respiratory deficiencies secondary to degenerative pathologies, cardiovascular problems, obesity, etc.
- Research: carry out studies based on scientific evidence where the methodology of physiotherapy techniques or treatments for different conditions is tested.
What is the procedure when I am referred to the physical therapist?
When the patient comes to the physiotherapist’s office, referred by a doctor, or on his own, the first day corresponds to the first visit of the patient. It is the first contact between the patient and the specialist, in which the condition is evaluated and the best treatment is prescribed. During the initial interview, the reports and diagnostic tests performed, antecedents or pathologies of interest are discussed, activities of daily living (ADL), habits, hobbies, etc. are analyzed.
Subsequently, tests are performed to evaluate the mobility, muscular strength, and flexibility of the affected limb, in addition to specific discriminatory manual tests to locate or confirm the injury. Once the evaluation is finished, a treatment is prescribed that will include manual techniques (massage therapy, trigger point inhibition, dry needling, stretching, joint manipulations, etc.), electrotherapy, which is based on the application of analgesic currents or magnetotherapy to reduce the inflammation and a regimen of therapeutic exercises, with the aim of progressively recovering full functionality.
The importance of a good diagnosis in physiotherapy is essential, since it will also help us to determine if it is a patient that we can treat or if, on the contrary, we should refer you to a specialist doctor.
What you should know…
- A physiotherapist is able to make his own diagnosis in physiotherapy through manual tests at the muscular, neural, or joint level and guide optimal treatment for the patient.
- The main objectives of physiotherapists are: to prevent, cure, and alleviate musculoskeletal problems physically and trying to minimize and repair the damage as much as possible.
- It is a service highly demanded by patients with trauma or rheumatological problems such as arthritic processes, lumbar pain, cervical pain, fractures, sprains, fibrillar breaks, among others.